Kunal Banerjee: Committed To Bridging The Gaps Between Organisational Mission And Employee Values | CEOInsights Vendor
Kunal Banerjee: Committed To Bridging The Gaps Between Organisational Mission And Employee Values

Kunal Banerjee: Committed To Bridging The Gaps Between Organisational Mission And Employee Values

Kunal Banerjee,  Chief HR Officer & Chief Of Staff To Chairman

Kunal Banerjee

Chief HR Officer & Chief Of Staff To Chairman

Human Resource Management comprises identifying, incubation, training and mentoring young leaders and Kunal Banerjee, contributes directly to business performance by providing fact based solutions, enabling the organization to make informed decisions and also aligning people to the company’s vision. Kunal is the Group Chief Human Resource Officer at Apollo International Limited and is also the Chief of Staff to the Chairman. He believes that combining business acumen with a people first approach is essential to navigate through the challenges posed by the industry.

In an indepth conversation with CEO Insights magazine Kunal shares with us his professional journey and the various lessons he has gathered along the way.Here are some excerpts from the conversation.

Give us a brief account of your professional background and experiences and what inspired you to join the industry?
I studied Psychology and earned my masters in Human Resources from IMT Ghaziabad. So, I have always been inclined and invested towards harnessing the potential of people. My only motto in life is how can I make a change in the world, and in life. As a CHRO, it is my priority to ensure that the organisation is made up of the right people since, if you’ve the right people in the right place with the correct ways of working, you can really move the business.

And it’s my personal conviction that with the upsurge of digital, HR is one of the most important functions of the 21st century. Prior to joining Apollo International, I was associated with JSPL as Head - Corporate HR. I have also been associated with renowned organizations such as Summit HR worldwide, Absolute HR, Randstad India, and GE Capital. I have worked across geographies on large key accounts like Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) and Managed Services Program (MSP) management and execution. My priorities include aligning the strategy for the people with business objectives, building a transformational and diverse organization, talent development & management, and implementing effective HR systems and policies.

You possess about three decades of experience, how has been your path to success and what is your
success mantra?
Being a successful HR Chief demands a deep understanding of the business along with progressive leadership skills to drive meaningful change. One needs to embrace a fierce sense of integrity and fairness to succeed long term. I also purposefully maintain the virtue of being 'unreasonable' as a strategy. I was brought up with the idea that the more reasonable you can be, the better employee and colleague you are. But sometimes, you need to challenge the status quo for 'positive disruption' to come in.

It has nothing to do with being nice or mean, or polite or rude. It’s about being passionate for building something new or creating something different, rather than ensuring it follows a reasonable process. It's been an exciting experience as I work to balance the expansion of the company with the personal development of each employee. My efforts to enable people find purpose at work through strategic engagement with workforce engagement have always paid off.

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What are some of the challenges that you have faced through your professional journey and how did you overcome it? How is Apollo international positioned in the market as an organization?
For the most of my professional life, I have been an entrepreneur, founding and managing HR businesses both domestically and abroad. It involved multiple challenges, including managing finances, sales, marketing, fundraising, and HRM. These provided me with great insights, and by reflecting on them, I now look into conflict management, counselling, organisational behaviour, and organisation growth. Raaja Kanwar founded Apollo International, a group company of the Apollo Tyres Group, three decades ago. Subsequently he also founded Apollo Supply Chain, one of India’s leading integrated supply chain solution providers with global footprint.

The primary strengths that Kanwar brought to Apollo International, in my opinion, were his ability to get ahead of the learning curve and his ability to smash down doors rather than merely knock on them when fresh possibilities presented themselves. The people, process, systems, and technology structure are used to harness and deliver the entrepreneurial spirit. Combining all these elements and managing the challenging task of keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive, while continuing to run this business with solid and robust processes is what
Apollo International does.

How important is it for an HR’s operations to align with that of an organization and what skills do you look for in a fresh candidate?
The true agent of change is an HR leader.Even while this transformation has been happening for some time, there has been a greater realisation since the COVID disaster. The world is evolving drastically as a result of advances in artificial intelligence, robots, and new working methods. To prepare individuals, businesses, and society for such occurrences is the responsibility of the HR function. Making people succeed is my aim; it's that simple.

HR’s roles and contributions connect with the organization's overall growth to ensure the success of the company as a whole. Everything we do is predicated on this. While recruiting talent, we look for both technical and softskills. In my perspective, you can always work well with someone with high integrity. Therefore, the character and willingness of the candidate should be a 10. Other skills that are non-negotiable for us are dependability, responsibility, consistency in their work, out-of-the-box thinking and leadership skills.

In the light of your strong experience within the industry, what advice would you give to the budding industry leaders?
Firstly, improve your capacity for attentive listening since, even in an action-oriented organization, this is the first critical step to coming up with a better solution.Secondly, leaders should continuously hone their team members' leadership abilities, focussing on data and insights since there are several opportunities to be data driven in HR. Additionally, I'd advise you to get a view of what the organisation’s strategy is, since CHROs must ensure that an organisation is living its purpose and values.

Kunal Banerjee, Chief HR Officer, Apollo International
Kunal Banerjee is a seasoned HR Professional with over twenty five years of experience in various verticals of business domain. He is currently the Chief HR Officer at Apollo International Limited. He is also an avid sports enthusiast, trained shooter, voracious reader a music lover and a passionate cook

•Hobbies: Reading, Fitness, Art, Collection & restoration of old furniture and art.
•Favourite Cuisine: All food which is clean, nutritious and balanced.
•Favourite Book: Books on Medieval History and the World Wars.
•Favourite Travel Destination: Jungles, Seas, Mountains anywhere on Earth.

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